Saturday, 20 January 2018

Keeping my hand in

I'm mostly  keeping up with my 'resolution' of trying to do something sewing/embroidery related every day.  Well. I am if I take an average.  And if I'm a bit loose in my definition of something sewing/embroidery related.

I've done some more card. The first was using some super sparkly vinyl:
The other was a simple appliqué, for a guitar-playing friend:

I've also agreed to do a name banner for another friend.   I had to do some tests on my machine as she didn't accept vinyl as a stabiliser last time I tried.

Firstly, I had to try winding a metal Brother bobbin on my Janome machine.  It wasn't great, but I managed it in the end.   Banners are seen from both sides,  so I can't have white/black bobbin thread (which are the colours of thread on the prewounds I use).  I need to actually load a bobbin with matching thread.  Fortunately, I had purchased some proper Briethr metal bobbins, exactly for this sort of eventuality,  a few weeks ago.

 The real testing though was how to actually stabilise the letters.    On my previous, single needle, machine it was easy. I just hooped some clear vinyl, and off we went. Vinyl works really well for banners - it's impossible to get cutaway or tearaway off the sides completely.  Soluble stabiliser is a bit of a pain on letters.

I tried hooping vinyl the other day - I was trying to make a little gift card holder - and it was hopeless.  The machine just chewed up the vinyl, spat it out, and complained about the vinyl bits in the bobbin case.    I thought that maybe soluble stabiliser would work.

The test turned into several tests.  The first was a letter using soluble stabiliser, using an EZ Frame.  This was OK, but the top right corner was rubbish.   The fabric also wrinkled when I used a damp cotton bud to dissolve the stabiliser round the edge, and then pressed the finished product.  Not great.
The second attempt was vinyl stabiliser, in a normal hoop, with the hoop just the size of the design.  That was OK, but it was impossible to get scissors in to trim closely enough before the satin stitch round the edges,  so it looked a bit scrappy off the machine.

The third attempt was the same as above, but I attempted to cut the shape beforehand.  That was a disaster.

Until my new clamp frame arrives from the US, the best way is vinyl, properly hooped... but I need to try it in a larger hoop to give me more room (with the risk that it doesn't hold the vinyl tightly enough, and I end up with another dodgy top.

On the plus side,  I took the time to use vinyl-in-a-hoop to stitch the letters of the name, without fabric.  This means I can move them over fabric to find exactly the right bit of fabric for each letter.

I've agreed to do the banner anyway now, as I know I'll be able to do it - I just need to sort out the best method.

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